No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:20-22)

O But Those Practicing Pagan Religions Are “God’s People” Too

In Part One of this work concerning Tony Campolo here at Apprising Ministries we began to draw together just some of the evidence revealing what this “Red Letter” Christian has said about the Gospel. The idea here being to elucidate one concerning the effects [read: delusions] which Campolo has received from his own personal practice of spiritually corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM). And as you’ll see in Tony Campolo To Enlighten Southern Baptists In Virginia next month he’s going to be bringing his mystical and mythical wisdom gleaned from CSM along with the reimagined social gospel of the Emerging Church to share with Southern Baptists in that state. 

However, what Campolo says below is actually quite representative of the highly ecumenical views of these postmodern neo-Gnostics and especially concerning their eternally fruitless interfaith aka interspiritual discussions. In our earlier piece about how mysticism trumps the Bible we have also given you one particularly glaring example of how, as a result of their practice of CSM—often under guise of Spiritual Formation—these new Emerging mystic wannabes such as Campolo actually undermine the authority of Scripture. I showed you where Edmonton Journal reporter Don Retson asks Campolo a simple straight forward question: “Do you believe non-Christians can go to heaven?”

But instead of answering directly Campolo gives a non-answer right in line with the more public hedging by Billy Graham in later years on this same issue, which as I have previously pointed out is—in and of itself—a denial of the exclusivity of the Gospel. Now let me bring to your attention once again an interview conducted by Emerging Church icon Shane Claiborne called On Evangelicals And Interfaith Cooperation, which ran a couple of years ago in Cross Currents, “a global network for people of faith and intelligence.” As it concerns the subject of “inter-religious cooperation” between missionaries of Islam and Christianity Campolo’s disciple Claiborne asks “evangelical Christian” Tony Campolo below if those involved “need to stop trying to convert each other.”

Note in his answer that Campolo is even including among what he calls “God’s people” those who are practicing Muslims:

SC: Both Muslims and Christians are very evangelical in the sense of desiring others to come to faith in their God. When we talk about inter-religious cooperation, does that mean that we need to stop trying to convert each other?

TC: We don’t have to give up trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. (Online source)

Because the main focus of this work is to show you the rotten fruit of CSM with its blurring, and even erasing, commitment to the text of Holy Scripture it’s important here to remind you that in addition to their work with the Emergent Church—a vital part of today’s rebellion against Sola Scriptura—both Campolo and Claiborne are involved with the antibiblical practice of Contemplative/Centering Prayer. As we brought out in Brian McLaren, The Emerging Church, And Homosexuality: What’s So Hard About That it’s also critical for you to keep in mind that for one to even be a practioner of CSM they would first have to put themselves at odds with the Lord’s Protestant Reformation.

The fact is the Reformers flatly rejected as apostate, i.e. not Christian, Roman Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena and yet here they are among the heroes at the heart of this spurious Spiritual Formation so romanticized today by the Emerging Church and postevangelicalism. Certainly no one is advocating taking away someone’s right, within reason, to worship God in any way they choose. This is not an issue. However, the same right would also include the genuine Christian who believes, according to the Scriptures, that only through a saving relationship to God in Christ can one even hope to worship the Lord in a way pleasing to Him.

And Campolo is in perfect double-speak mode above as out of one side of his very active mouth he says Christians don’t have to give up “trying to convert” Muslims but then out of the other side he then says “that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people.” But if practicing pagans really “are God’s people” then why would Christians need to risk offending another person of God, and in some more hardcore Muslim countries even put put their own lives at risk, in order to try to convert them. The question would then be convert these people to what? According to Campolo practicing Muslims are already God’s people.

Indeed it does sound so very humble, and even noble, for Campolo to opine “we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.” And there is an element of truth within that statement because, as I pointed out recently in Rick Warren Is A Global Problem Of The Church, the Devil knows his lies are best swallowed with an ever so slight seasoning of tasty truth. No, as fallen and imperfect human beings we do not have the capacity—or right—to definitively state who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell. However, as is typical of postevangelical preachers we have only taken into account part of the story—that which is pleasing to the self—mankind.

The Christian Is An Ambassador of Jesus Christ To Speak For God

Well now, perhaps Campolo and Claiborne have forgotten the primary mission of the Christian — we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20, NASB). So in that sense those who are in Christ, who are the only people of God, do speak His Words of judgment concerning “who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.” For example in the case of someone practicing Islam, which patently denies the Deity of Christ, God has already spoken on that subject when Jesus says — “unless you believe that I Am [the eternal God], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24, Greek) And all those who die “in” their sins go to Hell.  

But Campolo has an obvious bias in favor of Islam as you’ll be able to note below from his book Speaking My Mind (SMM). And you’ll also see Emergent Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo prophesy about how CSM, most specifically Contemplative/Centering Prayer, will be an instrument of coming unity between the many religions:

a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other. (149)

Can you begin to see the language of the theological agenda of this neo-Gnostic New Spirituality? A so-called “Christian” Mysticism, itself a form of transcendental meditation, and the “ecstatic union”—allegedly with God is the “common ground” uniting these various “faith traditions.” Mystics believe at some level that their particular brand of meditation is necessary to journey down inside themselves to find God within. It’s often referred to a “a divine spark” in classic mysticism but “Christian” mysticism-lite usually calls this the “true self.” Whichever way you slice it the goal is to accomplish further inward transformation aka “enlightenment” of man.

Many in the New Age version of transcendental meditation feel that eventually man will come to see that each “religious tradition” contains some vestiges of truth left from our original knowledge of the Reality; the Sacred, the mysteries of God etc. To the direct proportion one practices spurious CSM there will be an accompanying deemphasizing of the Cross of Christ—if they even preach it at all. And all of this is really Satan’s most subtle twist on his initial lie to Eve —“you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). You may also recall that it’s the same one with which he has even deluded himself (see—Isaiah 14:14).

I have discussed, and refuted, this fantasy Biblically in Understanding The New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind. However, once you understand the above you should be able to see here that their “enlightenment” concerning a belief people can somehow be saved through this spark of the divine aka “light” within mankind is really their own deluded spiritual pride in self (see—2 Timothy 3:2). And then in SMM Campolo asks a rather interesting question, which begins to make things even clearer about where this Emerging rebellion against Sola Scriptura is leading those who follow mystic fools and postevangelical pied pipers such as Campolo or Rob Bell and his friend Emerging Church Pastor Doug Pagitt:

I don’t know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystic experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?… The founder of this movement was Hasan Al Basri (A.D. 642-728)… [Basri’s] attempt to bring about religious reform very much paralleled the path of Francis [of Assisi], both in style and spiritual direction. Both men sensed a sacred presence in everything and claimed to have experienced a mystical union with God. (149, 150)

It shouldn’t be too hard at this point to realize that here Campolo is suggesting that subjective mystic experiences are a valid expression of experiencing God. But then on the next page of SMM the double-speak comes emerging again when he says:

I am not suggesting we are all in the same God camp. We are not… A personal relationship with Jesus is the only means of being intimate with God. But we will never know in this life who has this mystical involvement with the resurrected Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, and who does not. (151)

O it sounds very pious for sure; no, we human beings cannot “know” precisely “who has had this mystical involvement” with the Lord but the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Scriptures has already told us who cannot know God. For example, speaking by this Spirit Jesus Himself says to a practicing Sufi Muslim such as Basri who deny Christ’s true nature — “if you do not believe that I Am [the Eternal God] you will die in your sins” (John  8:24, Greek). But mystics like Campolo negate the text of the Bible in favor of their highly subjective and existential feelings. Because they believe there’s allegedly a spark of the divine within all people they feel that those who are involved with the practice of meditation could also come to know God even though they may not know Jesus.

So now you know why a neo-Gnostic like Campolo, currently among those who are lovers of self—humankind (see—2 Tomothy 3:2), will say something like:

even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. I think that what we all have to do is leave judgment up to God. The Muslim community is very evangelistic, however what Muslims will not do is condemn Jews and Christians to Hell if in fact they do not accept Islam. (Online source)

Trying To Bring A Message Of Christ And Still Be Loved By The World

As we wrap this up for now let me say once again that all of this does play very nicely upon the heartstrings mankind but it does then beg the question: If those practicing e.g. the false religion of Islam and who do not convert to Christianity are “God’s people” then why should missionaries even try to convert them at all? In addition Campolo is also flatly contradicting what the eyewitness John reported Jesus as saying in John 8:24, which I quoted earler. According to Scripture all people are not God’s people and to tell them they are is to lie to them. And what is more it’s also an act of cruelty to leave them complacent in their sin and facing an eternity in Hell.

But now maybe the term “a generous orthodoxy” might become a clearer and you’ll understand that Campolo and his Emerging pal Brian McLaren are driving on an ecumenical road that’s really a spiritual dead end when McLaren says in A Generous Orthodoxy (AGO):

I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. (260)

This is to disregard what Jesus means when He — was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23, NASB). Men and women, there is very grave spiritual danger here in following Emerging Church seducing spirits like Campolo and McLaren as Dr. Al Mohler points out in his review of AGO:

The Emergent movement represents a significant challenge to biblical Christianity. Unwilling to affirm that the Bible contains propositional truths that form the framework for Christian belief, this movement argues that we can have Christian symbolism and substance without those thorny questions of truthfulness that have so vexed the modern mind. The worldview of postmodernism–complete with an epistemology that denies the possibility of or need for propositional truth–affords the movement an opportunity to hop, skip and jump throughout the Bible and the history of Christian thought in order to take whatever pieces they want from one theology and attach them, like doctrinal post-it notes, to whatever picture they would want to draw.

When it comes to issues such as the exclusivity of the gospel, the identity of Jesus Christ as both fully human and fully divine, the authoritative character of Scripture as written revelation, and the clear teachings of Scripture concerning issues such as homosexuality, this movement simply refuses to answer the questions. (Online source)

And there is an agenda here for the adherent of CSM in their misguided myth that the practice of “prayer,” by which the mystic means meditation, will be the key to putting away religious “differences.” However, in the case of Campolo’s straw man that “we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell,” no genuine Christian condemns anyone to anything. But as one in the field of Comparative Religion I can assure you that Campolo is sadly mistaken, and I’d say blinded by his CSM delusions, if he thinks Islam does not teach that all those who do not accept their god Allah, who is actually a demon (see—1 Corinthians 10:20) are condemned to Hell according to the Quran. 

In closing I refer you to this excerpt from “Hell and the Quran” by Dr. David Miller, executive director of Apologetics Press

The classic Christian doctrine of hell receives a most interesting treatment in the Quran, providing a number of fanciful particulars and whimsical embellishments. On the Day of Judgment, unbelievers will be “dragged into the Fire upon their faces” (Surah 54:48) “by their scalps” (Surah 70:16, Dawood, Sale, and Rodwell translations). Their faces will be “blackened” (Surah 39:60). They will have manacles, chains, and yokes placed upon them (Surah 34:33; 40:71; 76:4). One surah even declares that the wife of Abu Lahab (one of Muhammad’s bitter opponents) “will have upon her neck a halter of palm-fibre” (Surah 111:5)—apparently fireproof palm fiber. 

According to the Quran, hell is a place of raging, fiercely blazing fire (Surah 73:12; 92:14; 101:11) with leaping, piercing, burning flames (Surah 4:10; 17:97; 25:11; 37:10; 48:13; 77:30-31; 85:10; 104:6-7), in which people “neither die nor live” (Surah 87:12-13). In addition to flames, hell also contains scorching winds, black smoke (Surah 56:42-43), and boiling hot water through which the disbelievers will be dragged (Surah 40:71-72; 55:44). In fact, unbelievers will both drink and be drenched with boiling water:

Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place! (Surah 18:30, emp. added).

These twain (the believers and the disbelievers) are two opponents who contend concerning their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads. Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning (Surah 22:19-22, emp. added; cf. 6:70; 10:5; 37:67; 44:48; 56:54,93)…

Next to the doctrine of monotheism, the doctrine of hell and punishment receives more attention than any other doctrine in the Quran—maybe even more than monotheism. In fact, to the unbiased reader, the Quran is positively top-heavy—completely unbalanced—in its almost constant emphasis on fire, torment, and eternal punishment. (Online source)